Teach English in Tropical Schools Thailand

The government schools provide free education for children aged 10-18 years from the local areas.

Volunteers teach English in schools in tropical southern Thailand to help enhance English communication skills for local children. You will lead fun and interactive lessons that encourage children to practice their spoken English. Support local teachers to give young people an educational advantage by improving their conversational English skills and an opportunity to move onto further education or better jobs.

Live among an incredibly friendly and welcoming Thai community and explore the beautiful islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan at weekends.

Join the team and deliver valuable English lessons to local children.

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Key Info

key info
  • Location: Surat Thani, South Thailand
  • Start dates: Start dates between May and August
  • Duration: 4 - 12 weeks
  • Age requirement: 20+ (groups also welcome)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £895 / €985 / $1110 - see fees table below
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Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

Teaching in Tropical Schools is an opportunity to become fully immersed in a welcoming local community and Thai culture whilst teaching English to students aged 10-18 years at local government schools.

Despite the area’s close proximity to popular tourist destinations including Koh Samui, locals don’t usually have exposure to native English speakers. English lessons are highly valued, as English helps access higher education and jobs.

Lessons help the children to develop English language skills through participation and involvement. Your role is to support the students practising their speaking and listening skills and to help them gain confidence in conversational English, rather than teaching grammar. The lessons should be as fun and engaging as possible, inspiring the children to love learning English!

Lessons will vary depending on students’ age and ability but may include:

  • Interactive learning games
  • Listening and conversation practice
  • Games and songs - the children love karaoke!
  • Arts and crafts

Teaching experience is not required, but you can choose to do a TEFL Course before you go.

“All volunteers try hard to help our students learn English through various activities. This is a great opportunity for them to learn English in a real situation but the most important thing is that Pod Volunteer volunteers inspire and motivate the young people to speak and use English confidently.”
Joy, Local English Teacher

Typical day

A normal week will have approximately 10-12 hours of English lessons from Monday-Thursday. Volunteer lessons are additional lessons in the curriculum and do not replace the work of local teachers.

The school day runs from 8.30am to 3.30pm and volunteers usually spend all day at school, teaching or planning for their lessons. The school is approximately 5 minutes’ drive from the accommodation.

During your first few days you will have an induction, including:

  • Introduction to Thai language and culture
  • Tour of the local area, the school and its facilities
  • Meeting the Thai teachers and observing one of their lessons

On your long weekends off there are a variety of amazing free time activities for you to get involved in.

Other volunteers

There are generally 1-4 volunteers with a maximum of 6. During lessons you may work with a Thai teacher, but they will often let volunteers take the lead. Volunteers may teach by themselves, or with another volunteer depending on the number of other volunteers there at the time.

Child protection

Pod is fully committed to safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults - please see our Child and Vulnerable Adults Protection Policy. All volunteers are required to have a criminal records check, which we will arrange with you.

Local support

You will be supported by the Head Teacher as well as teachers Joy, Aoi and Ton. They will help you with lesson planning and love to show you the local area in your free time.

Accommodation

Volunteers stay in their own simple Thai style bungalow with a TV and ensuite bathroom, in a beautiful rural resort.

Volunteer accomodation

The bungalows are set in exotic gardens, including a lake and orchid gardens. There is traditional Thai restaurant which has a large seating area where volunteers can relax in the evenings. There is WIFI available.

Tropical volunteer accommodation

Meals 

Meals are not included in this placement.  Here are typical examples of the traditional thai food you may have: 

  • Breakfast – you can buy breakfast at your accommodation or school canteen, such as coconut pancakes or sweet rice 
  • Lunch – you can buy lunch in the school canteen, such as curry, fried rice, noodles, fresh fruit
  • Dinner – you can buy dinner at your accommodation or at local restaurants. This may be rice, noodles, curries, stir fries, soup

There are vegetarians and vegans options available. 

There is drinking water available at the school and you can buy drinking water at the accommodation or local shops.    

Location and free time

Surat Thani province is in the South East of Thailand and is the nearest mainland area to the popular islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. It is the largest province of Southern Thailand and its main exports are coconuts, rubber and rambutans (a red, hairy delicious fruit which you may try!).

You will be based in the Donsak area which is a small traditional Thai town about 45 minutes’ drive from the main town of Surat Thani. It’s a rural farming area and isn’t visited by many tourists, so this is a fantastic opportunity to get off the beaten track and discover rural Thailand.

In the evenings volunteers often go for dinner with the teachers, explore local markets or get involved in other community activities. The local community is very active and will try to involve you and make you feel welcome by inviting you to local events.

Don Sak area of Thailand

Volunteers spend their long weekends exploring the local area or visiting the nearby islands. You are ideally positioned to jump on one of the frequent boat services and head off to the beach! The islands are very popular destinations with travellers, and as well as stunning beaches, there is great snorkelling and diving, and a lively social scene. It’s also easy to take buses from Donsak to the other parts of Thailand such as Khaosok National Park, Krabi and Phuket.

Travelling in Thailand before or after your placement

Thailand is often referred to as the ‘land of smiles’ and is a huge attraction for travellers from around the world due to its glorious beaches, tropical climate, great food and fascinating culture. Thailand has something to offer everyone and popular activities that you might like to combine with your volunteer project include:

  • Scuba diving around the famous island of Koh Tao
  • Visit the beautiful waterfalls, wildlife and limestone cliffs of Khao Sok National Park
  • Exploring the tranquil mountains in the North and meeting ethnic hill tribes
  • Visiting the many colourful and ancient temples  

For more information on Thailand and some of the things we loved when we visited there please see our Thailand country page. This also features all our other Thailand volunteering projects as you might like to consider combining this project with one of the others we offer to make a trip of a lifetime!

Thailand temple

Climate

Surat Thani province has a tropical climate and throughout the year it is hot with temperatures generally between 25-33 degrees Celsius. There can be tropical rain showers at any time of year but the main rainy season is from October to December. 

Dates

2019: 25 May (4-12 weeks), 8 Jun (4-12 weeks), 22 Jun (4-10 weeks), 6 Jul (4-8 weeks), 20 Jul (4-6 weeks), 3 Aug (4 weeks)

2020: 23 May (4-12 weeks), 6 Jun (4-12 weeks), 20 Jun (4-10 weeks), 4 Jul (4-8 weeks), 18 Jul (4-6 weeks), 1 Aug (4 weeks)

What's Included

Included

  • Dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist to support you
  • Airport pick up (Surat Thani) and return transfers
  • Accommodation - Thai bungalow
  • Daily transport to school
  • Induction to your school, timetable and syllabus
  • Activities: local market tour, waterfall and beach tour
  • Thai SIM card for your mobile phone
  • Support from the local team
  • Support from the Pod Volunteer UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Volunteering certificate and reference (on request)

Not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa
  • Criminal record / police check
  • Vaccinations and medication
  • Living costs - food, snacks, drinks, laundry
  • Any tourist trips / activities you choose to do in your free time
Price table
4 weeks £895 GB Pounds
Each additional 2 weeks £215 GB Pounds

Discounts

  • £75 discount for every additional project you book as part of the same trip
  • £75 discount if you have previously volunteered with Pod Volunteer 

Where the money goes - financial transparency

Your fee covers the overseas costs of volunteering and the costs of running our organisation in the UK, on a non-profit basis.  For more details and a breakdown of our costs please click here.

Book with confidence - financial protection

All monies paid to us are financially protected through The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT). 

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Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com

Read volunteer reviews from the Teaching English in Tropical Schools project

Pooja

“This is an amazing project where volunteers can make a difference and help improve the local children’s English skills. Having a native speaker is very beneficial to the children in correcting their pronunciation, building vocabulary and introducing grammar concepts. English is a business language and increasing the students knowledge of English can help them gain access to better opportunities in the future.

It is a new country and it takes time to adjust but the school provides a great atmosphere and guidance throughout the placement. Most rewarding was when students were able to demonstrate their understanding of the topic when I tested them. It made me feel happy to see them understanding and applying the concept.”

Leah

“I really don’t know where to begin in explaining the impact the students and teachers had on me or how amazing this experience was overall. From the teachers at our school to the staff at our accommodation, the people didn’t just welcome you, they made you part of the family. The children in Thailand have to be the most grateful, enthusiastic, determined, fun-loving children I have ever had the pleasure to teach

What makes the Teaching in a Tropical School programme so amazing is the ability to see rural Thailand, while still being a ferry ride away from some of the popular, and most beautiful islands, in Thailand. It may be the biggest cliche, “you get to see the real Thailand,” but without sounding pretentious, it is the absolute truth.”

Ellie

“My time volunteering was truly one of the best experiences of my life. Even in just 6 weeks teaching it is easy to recognise the difference you have made in the children’s confidence to engage in conversation and their ability to understand the English language. The teachers at all the schools are incredibly welcoming and kind, going out of their way to help the volunteers settle into the schools and have the most fantastic time possible whilst teaching.

Being able to see the difference in the children’s ability to communicate in English by the end of our stay was the most rewarding. Their confidence with approaching us to have a conversation improved hugely which was fantastic to see. It was also incredibly rewarding to be welcomed into the school family and treated like an old friend by everyone.”

Katherine

“This project exceeded all expectations. I have never felt more welcome or more appreciated and I was overwhelmed by how friendly everyone was. The children at the schools were so excited and enthusiastic to learn, it was noticeable how much their English improved and their confidence grew. The teachers were so generous, making us feel like part of the school family and going out of their way to help us with anything that we needed.

The Head Teacher of the Secondary school, Mr Prayong is incredible, he really cares about his school and community and was so appreciative of the volunteers. He made us feel safe and part of the community. Most rewarding was the receptiveness of the children, seeing that they were really listening and putting into practice what they had learnt and the generosity and appreciation we received from the teachers and the local community.”

Read more reviews

300+

Children benefit from this project

"It was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever! Pod Volunteer provided the ideal amount of support and guidance"Satvinder

Gemma

Pod UK Specialist

Gemma has visited the project, apply you will hear from her soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.

Apply

VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • Thailand Teaching English in Tropical Schools volunteer – Ellie

    “It was truly one of the best experiences of my life. Even in 6 weeks you recognise the difference you have made in the children's confidence to engage in conversation and their ability to understand the English language.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Thailand Teaching English in Tropical Schools volunteer – Katherine

    “It exceeded all expectations. I have never felt more welcome or more appreciated and I was overwhelmed by how friendly everyone was. The children at the schools were so excited and enthusiastic to learn”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Thailand Teaching English in Tropical Schools volunteer – Leah

    “I really don't know where to begin in explaining the impact the students and teachers had on me or how amazing this experience was overall. It definitely was the best trip, most enriching I have ever done.”

    Read more volunteer reviews

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AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal